Belgium’s 3B, Holland’s DSM and Gastank Sweden are talking up new advanced materials for manufacturing superior CNG fuel cylinders, including high-strength glass fiber to eliminate costly carbon and a unique inner liner to eliminate methane permeation issues.
Even though there is no safety hazard, the slight smell of natural gas in natural gas vehicles can dissuade buyers – and prevent automakers from designing NGVs with the fuel tanks inside, Gastank Sweden founder and president Kurt Berglund told F&F.
Use of Akulon Fuel Lock brand polyamide (nylon) polymer from DSM Engineering Plastics eliminates the problem, he says.
Lighter than Steel, Cheaper than Carbon
In a release with DSM, Berglund says that tests by Powertech Labs “did not detect any loss of gas via permeation” in a new 32-liter compressed natural gas fuel cylinder, the Gastank 32. “This unprecedented result makes our lightweight, zero permeation composite CNG tanks a benchmark within the composite cylinder manufacturing industry,” Berglund said.
“Akulon Fuel Lock,” says DSM application development manager Tim Vorage, “shows a permeation factor at least 150 times lower than high density polyethylene.” It’s more temperature resistant too, reducing creep issues and allowing composite overwrap material to be cured more quickly.
3B supplies its HiPer-tex brand glass fiber for the cylinders, allowing the Gastank Sweden product to “bridge the gap between heavy weight steel and high cost carbon fiber composites,” Berglund said.
CNG cylinders made with the 3B fiber were shown at the NGV2010Roma world meeting in Italy nearly two years ago (F&F, June 14, 2010). The use of Akulon liners, Berglund says, is new.
3B was recently purchased by India’s Braj Binani Group.
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